Advise carries weight if it comes from somebody who has the experience of having gone through what he is offering his advice on.
Kunal Shah, Founder of CRED, who over the years has invested in many startups has some valuable tips to offer.
Shah, an entrepreneur who is constantly raising the bar of doing business, has also spent some time at Y Combinator and Sequoia.
The key to raising funds, Kunal says, is in understanding what the other party wants - just like one is expected to do in a relationship.
An MBA dropout from Mumbai’s Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Shah had earlier launched ventures such as PaisaBack, a cashback and promotional discount campaign platform for retailers.
Later, he shut down PaisaBack to set up FreeCharge in August 2010 along with Sandeep Tandon. The startup was acquired by Snapdeal in April 2015. After the acquisition, FreeCharge continued to be run as an independent entity under Shah's leadership.
He, however, left the firm in October 2016. Subsequently, in July 2017, Axis Bank acquired FreeCharge.
Here are some quotes by Kunal Shah on secrets to funding and what startup must not do:
“All students should have a startup during college. Doesn't matter if successful or how big or small. Worst case scenario it will make them 10x better employee than someone with no exposure to how a business works"
“Investors, funders, partners, or your consumers are likely to give you a chance if you are persistent. But, as entrepreneurs, you need more than just persistence.”
“If you fully accept the worst that can ever happen in your journey, fear won’t ever be an obstacle in starting-up”
“Don’t bank on just marketing your idea, build value.”
“If you don’t go through the journey of failure… you are not going to have any probability of being successful.”
"Investing is a very hard job. It is very easy to be on the other side and say 'what kind of companies are investors picking' because, in our eyes, our company is the best.”
"We often confuse what people want and end up doing our thing, hoping that somebody will pay attention or probably will give us money, but it does not happen because we have not taken the time to understand what they want.”
"Writing to 500 venture capitalists, tagging them on Twitter, and sending them emails is not going to get you attention. It is wrong to think people get funded because they pitch."
"The best way to raise funds is where you are introduced by somebody else. True for dating and true for investments”
"Funded founders are in the highest amount of stress because people are not giving you money; they are giving you capital to prove yourself. You have hundreds of team members who are looking up to you to be right."
(Edited by Javed Gaihlot)